January 22, 2018



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Local/Regional Politics:


Secret House Republican (Nunes) memo causes new rifts over Russia investigation

Los Angeles Times

Conservative Republicans are pushing to release a memo containing classified information about the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, sparking new controversy in a case that has already caused deep partisan rifts.

See also:

McCarthy trolls Feinstein over her 2013 shutdown position – LA Times

Los Angeles Times

As Democrats and Republicans each try to blame the other party (and President Trump) over what looks likely to be a government shutdown, look no further than California’s delegation for the split. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) retweeted a critical post from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 2013, when Republicans led a 16-day shutdown in their failed bid to repeal Obamacare.

California ‘Dreamers’ arrested outside House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office

Los Angeles Times

With less than 36 hours to go before the federal government could shut down, seven Californians who were brought to the country illegally as children sat down in a U.S. Capitol hallway and began to scream. “McCarthy! Where is your heart?” they yelled as they waved red banners. Capitol police officers quickly swarmed outside the office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and escorted the still-shouting “Dreamers” out of the building.

Disease experts split on benefits of valley fever bills

Hanford Sentinel

Advocates for valley fever research give California Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) an “A” for effort for what they call the most robust legislative effort to address the disease in California history. But public health officials and disease experts are split on whether the remedies proposed by Salas will bring improvements.

You can sign up in Spanish to get bad-air alerts. And a tweet storm made that possible

Fresno Bee

Less than two weeks after critics ripped the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District for not doing enough to alert the public about hazardous air quality levels, complaints that registration for alerts have not been available in Spanish erupted Thursday on Twitter.

City Council gets an earful from public

Madera Tribune

An overflow City Hall crowd let the Madera City Council know in no uncertain terms Wednesday night that they wanted change, and they wanted it now.

Political races featuring new faces against seasoned veterans in 2018

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County’s political dance card is beginning to fill in the new year as a Shakespearean cast of candidates throw their names at seats in Congress, the state Senate, the Assembly and local races for Kern County supervisor, judge and district attorney.

Kmart closure in Taft to have major impact on local economy, residents say

Bakersfield Californian

The closure of Taft’s Kmart store this spring will have a major impact on the small community southwest of Bakersfield, according to residents.

Facebook ablaze over racist comment by local talk radio host

Bakersfield Californian

KNZR talk radio personality Jaz McKay refers to himself as “God-fearing, gun-toting, and flag-waving.” Should he add “tongue-slipping” to the mix? McKay, KNZR’s top-rated local host who has been at the station going on 11 years, has a history of getting himself into hot water. And judging by the outrage he generated on Facebook Thursday night and Friday morning, he’s again facing some heat after he used the racial epithet “spic” to describe Spanish-language music on the radio.

Mark Zuckerburg and Martin Luther King Liked It. But Will Guaranteed Income Play in Stockton, California?


In 1797 Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, proposed that a “citizen dividend” be paid to each American and funded by a tax on land. Paine’s proposal—now dubbed Universal Basic Income (UBI) or guaranteed minimum income—is, some 220 years later, coming to California.

City to consider 2018 minimum wage increase

Porterville Recorder

The Lindsay City COuncil will consider Tuesday adoption of the 2018 salary schedule as adjusted for the minimum wage increase.

Sexual assault suit – Clovis Unified’s Buchanan title tarnished

The Fresno Bee

Above the scoreboard at the Buchanan High baseball diamond, the words “NATIONAL CHAMPIONS” along with “2011” and “2016” are displayed in large, white letters. This isn’t to say Buchanan wouldn’t have won the 2016 Central Section title, or the mythical national championship as anointed by USA Today, without the two players who were accused of sexual assault of an intoxicated 16-year-old classmate several months before.

Equal treatment, rights focus of Kern County Women’s March

Bakersfield Californian

Thousands of people took to the streets in downtown Bakersfield on Saturday to advocate for women’s rights and equal treatment. The first Kern County Women’s March started and ended at Mill Creek Park off of 21st Street.

Women’s March Modesto draws larger crowd in second year


More marchers, more determined, Modestans join nation in resistance

The Women’s March Modesto sought to turn anger into action a year into the Trump presidency.

Valley residents march in solidarity at 2018 Women’s March

Visalia Times Delta

One year ago, ACT for Women and Girls held the first Visalia Women’s March alongside sister marches across the United States. On the Facebook post for the event, only 50 people said they would be in attendance, said Gina Rodriguez, program director. That day, more than 500 people came together to march.

Workplace culture cited in city’s overspending/ The Modesto Bee

The Modesto Bee

Modesto’s Problems with its purchasing practices in which it spent millions of dollars more than authorized by the City Council or by the actual agreements took place in a workplace culture in which city departments did not believe it was their job to keep track of their contracts or to question the actions of the purchasing division.

State Politics:


Jerry Brown’s Legacy: A $6.1 Billion Budget Surplus in California


California Gov. Jerry Brown appears poised to exit office next year with a top political priority in hand: free from the massive budget deficits that had weighed on his predecessors. Buoyed by tax increases passed under his administration and a strong economy, Mr. Brown said Wednesday that the state is projecting a $6.1 billion surplus for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Gov. Jerry Brown is in danger of becoming remembered for his ‘boondoggle bullet train to nowhere’

Los Angeles Times

Time is running out for Gov. Jerry Brown to fix two big legacy projects. If he doesn’t, his successor might just dump them in the trash

Skelton: Democrats running for California governor need to stop talking about Trump and start talking about public pensions

LA Times

One thorny topic you won’t be hearing Democratic candidates for governor talking much about is California’s essential need for public pension reform.

California Politics Podcast: A new chapter in the clash over illegal immigration

Los Angeles Times

On an issue where the stakes were already high, California elected officials have ramped up their criticism of a promised crackdown on illegal immigration and lack of action on Capitol Hill in solving the problem facing hundreds of thousands of young residents.

California corporate tax bill would offset Trump cuts

The Sacramento Bee

A pair of California lawmakers want to claw back some of steep tax cuts that corporations will receive under the federal tax overhaul signed last month by President Donald Trump. Democratic Assemblymen Kevin McCarty of Sacramento and Phil Ting of San Francisco announced Thursday that they will pursue a constitutional amendment to add a surcharge on large companies that do business in California, potentially raising billions of dollars to expand social services for Californians.

See also:

Rival Bids To Overturn California Gas Tax Join Forces

Capital Public Radio News

The effort to overturn the fuel tax and vehicle fee increases in California’s new transportation funding law appears to be gaining momentum.

California may buck Congress with its own health insurance requirement

The Mercury News

With Congress ending the requirement that all Americans have health insurance, California leaders are preparing to counter that move by securing health care for as many residents as possible in a fortified state insurance exchange.

Lavish bash for California politicians and lobbyists gets a #MeToo makeover

The Mercury News

Each January, as lawmakers return to Sacramento from three months in their hometowns, hundreds of lobbyists and staff members join them at The Park nightclub near the Capitol to sip Moscow Mules, puff on cigars and catch up with old friends and frenemies.

Myers: There’s a season for California’s 2018 ballot initiatives, and this is it

Los Angeles Times

The folding table full of clipboards and flapping sheets of paper — a staple of ballot measure campaigns and thus a hallmark of California politics — is back in front of neighborhood grocery stores and shopping malls.

Initiative backers betting 2018 will be the year to take on California’s Proposition 13


Forty years after Californians revolted against rising property taxes to pass Proposition 13, advocates of tax reform believe the timing is finally right to do surgery on it. They’ve filed a draft initiative with the state ­— the step before starting to collect signatures for the November ballot — proposing a “split roll” system that would increase taxes on commercial and industrial properties to produce more money for schools, counties and local governments, while leaving intact Prop. 13’s tax protections for homeowners and residential properties.

California is trying to bring back net neutrality, but the debate is complicated

Los Angeles Times

California state lawmakers are angling for another fight with the Trump administration, this time to revive federal net neutrality rules that they say are crucial to a fair, open and free internet.

California weighs in on Supreme Court case over mandatory union fees for public employees

Los Angeles Times

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday to support mandatory union fees for public employees.

Federal Politics:

Ten members of Congress with most to gain or lose from a shutdown

The Fresno Bee

Voters have made it clear for years they’re fed up with Washington’s chaos, and nothing better illustrates the capital’s disarray than a down-to-the-wire fight over government spending.

See also:

Trump’s Numbers


Now that President Donald Trump has been in office for one day shy of a full year, it’s time to take a look at how well his boasts  — and his critics’ complaints — stack up against hard data. Here we offer key measures of what has happened since Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017, according to the most up-to-date and reliable statistical sources available.

See also:

Trump versus California: One year into his presidency, tensions rise

Los Angeles Times

After sodden hillsides thundered into Montecito, obliterating scores of homes and killing nearly two dozen people, seven days went by before President Trump first acknowledged the disaster.


Whalen: If It’s A War That California Wants, Here Are Four Things Trump Can Do To Up The Ante


As this is the weekend marking the completion of year one of the Trump Administration, it’s as good a time as any to look at the dysfunctional relationship between the American President and America’s nation-state.

What’s on the Republican economic agenda in the coming year? | Marketplace

Market Place

As we approach the Trump administration’s one-year anniversary, we’re looking at the economic agenda ahead. With the Republicans in power, and the passage of their major $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, what’s next? Michael Boskin, economics professor and senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, joined Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to share his perspective. Boskin also served as chairman of President George H.W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1989 to 1993.


Republican says CA attorney general should be charged over immigration

The Sacramento Bee

A Republican candidate for California governor said Friday that employers should help federal authorities conducting immigration raids and defy the state attorney general who says a new state law restricts such voluntary cooperation.

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45 years after Roe v. Wade, White House threatens landmark abortion ruling

Sacramento Bee

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy by ruling that Texas laws criminalizing abortion violated privacy guarantees under the Constitution. Yet 45 years later, the watershed decision continues to come under fire from pro-life advocates, including the nation’s chief executive.


Live updates: Women’s March in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Times

Thousands of people hit the streets of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday for the second Women’s March in L.A. It’s one of hundreds of events that were planned across California and the country.

See Also:

          #MeToo movement sparks increased scrutiny of California politicians

Los Angeles Times

California Today: Women’s Marches Draw Actors and Activists New York Times

‘It’s about time’: Ruth Bader Ginsburg praises #MeToo, recounts harassment in Sundance talk  Washington Post


Trolls, spoofs, and Hawaiian missiles: What’s real in a virtual world?


In late December, a Wichita, Kansas, man named Andrew Finch looked out his front door and saw a SWAT team. He opened the door to see what was going on, and the police shot and killed him. The police thought they were coming to the rescue in a murder-hostage situation, but it was a horrible mistake. There was no emergency.


Sunday, January 28, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: State Auditor To UC: UCPath on the Wrong Path – Guest: State Auditor Elaine Howle. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Sunday, January 28, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) –Maddy Report: “Government Waste: Who You Gonna Call?” – Guest: California State Auditor Elaine Howle. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, January 28, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – Informe Maddy:Higher Education and Path in California  Guests: PPIC Olga Rodriguez and Marisol Cuellar. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans

Support the Maddy Daily HERE.

Thank you!




Topics in More Detail…





State panel to examine taxes on California’s newly licensed marijuana industry

Los Angeles Times

A citizens panel that is helping to set rules for the marijuana industry in California has agreed to examine the impact of taxes that some growers and sellers have complained are too high.




California’s Prison Statistics: How The Golden State Stacks Up

San Francisco, CA Patch

When it comes to incarceration rates, California has one of the lowest in the country.

They rigged bids at four California state departments. Now they face prison sentences

Sacramento Bee

Two San Francisco business partners who gamed state contracting rules to win $3 million in government contracts have pleaded guilty to bid-rigging in federal court and are awaiting sentencing.

Recreational marijuana is legal in California, but stoned driving is still hard to detect

Sacramento Bee

When a 22-year-old Hayward man allegedly slammed his Cadillac into a California Highway Patrol vehicle and killed Officer Andrew Camilleri on Christmas Eve, he was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, officials said.

Public Safety:

10,000 Californians barred from owning guns are still armed. This law aims to change that

LA Times

In response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut five years ago, outraged California lawmakers launched a crackdown within months of the tragedy that has seized 18,000 firearms, including assault rifles, from thousands of people convicted of felonies, subject to domestic violence restraining orders or judged by the courts to be severely mentally ill.



Full Circle Brewing raises $800,000

The Fresno Bee

Full Circle Brewing Co., one of Fresno’s leading craft beer makers, has raised more than $800,000 as part of crowdfunding equity campaign. The craft brewery at 620 F St. is more than three-fourths of the way toward meeting their goal. With the additional funding, they will be able to increase their productivity tenfold.

Kmart closure in Taft to have major impact on local economy, residents say

The Bakersfield Californian

The closure of Taft’s Kmart store this spring will have a major impact on the small community southwest of Bakersfield, according to residents.

Liberal Economics Don’t Work: Highlighting Failed Predictions

National Review

One of the great drawbacks of our 24/7 social-media-preoccupied world is the volume of news produced and consumed on a daily basis. I am old enough to remember when a major news story could own the front page for weeks, one learned of “breaking news” on the evening broadcasts or in the next day’s paper, and the average person had time to consume, digest, and interpret what were generally agreed to be the big stories of the day. The notion of news breaking every second on every broadcast would have been laughable back then.

New state-level estimates of the economic burden of the opioid epidemic


No one disputes that opioid abuse has caused an epidemic in our country, one that costs tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions, of dollars per year. Less well known, but of vital importance to policymakers, is how these costs are distributed. Opioid abuse rates and deaths vary considerably from state to state, as do the costs associated with this epidemic.


Major healthcare technology company to employ hundreds of Adventist Health employees


Adventist Health already has a partnership with Cerner, a multi-billion dollar healthcare technology company based in Kansas City, Missouri. Representatives from both companies say that business relationship is expanding, by Cerner taking over management of Adventist’s revenue cycle and clinical applications IT staff. In the Central Valley, the change means more than 3300 employees in Selma, Hanford, and Reedley will now work for Cerner.

California’s unemployment rate falls to record low

San Francisco Chronicle

Thanks to stronger-than-expected job growth, California’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in December, a record low since 1976 when the state started tracking data consistently.

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Sexual assault suit – Clovis Unified’s Buchanan title tarnished

The Fresno Bee

Above the scoreboard at the Buchanan High baseball diamond, the words “NATIONAL CHAMPIONS” along with “2011” and “2016” are displayed in large, white letters. This isn’t to say Buchanan wouldn’t have won the 2016 Central Section title, or the mythical national championship as anointed by USA Today, without the two players who were accused of sexual assault of an intoxicated 16-year-old classmate several months before.

Walters: Brown relents a little on school accountability

The Bakersfield Californian

For years, Gov. Jerry Brown has preached a secular version of a religious principle called “subsidiarity,” asserting that local officials should have flexibility to act without micromanagement from Sacramento.

Audio: California’s 2nd attempt to meet federal education law looks much the same

89.3 KPCC

When California submitted its plan to comply with a new federal education law late last year, the U.S. Department of Education officials didn’t seem too impressed.California’s plan to follow the Every Student Succeeds Act, or “ESSA” — the latest iteration of a longstanding federal mandate that states must identify and help the worst-performing schools — was essentially incomplete, the feds said. That response only fueled the fears of advocates and civil rights groups, already worriedCalifornia’s ESSA plan would shortchange vulnerable kids.

It’s time to choose schools in California: What parents need to know

The Bakersfield Californian

Millions of Californians are participating this week in school choice events and activities. National School Choice Week began on Sunday, with 2,302 events and activities in California and 32,240 events across the country.

Walters: The yin and yang of California’s school crisis


California’s education dilemma can be stated rather simply, to wit: The state has 6 million kids in its K-12 public school system, 60 percent of them are classified as either poor or English-learners and as a group they trail badly in educational accomplishment. The state’s political leaders and education officials acknowledge what they call the “achievement gap” and say they are working to close it, mostly by appropriating more money for instruction.

New science standards a boon for the littlest learners


Science education has long been a weak spot at some elementary schools, but educators are hoping California’s new science standards — if implemented well — will entice teachers to expand and improve science lessons for the youngest students.

California inflated its high school graduation rate by 2%, federal audit finds

Daily News

California education leaders inflated the state’s high school graduation rate by 2 percentage points in 2014, according to the results of a federal audit announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Education. The Department’s Office of Inspector General found that California education officials inaccurately calculated its graduation rate and failed to provide “reasonable assurance” that reported graduation rates were accurate.

Higher Ed:

UC regents to vote on increasing tuition and student fees by $342

Los Angeles Times

The University of California is proposing to raise tuition and the student services fee for state residents by 2.7%, an increase of $342 to a total of $12,972 for the 2018-19 academic year.

Improving Community College Course Catalogs

Public Policy Institute of California

Before the start of a new semester, students at California’s community colleges must sift through hundreds of courses and decide which ones will help them make progress toward their college and career goals. However, course prerequisites and program requirements can be complicated, and staff and counseling centers aren’t always readily available to help students make informed decisions. Course catalogs are a widely available resource at all 114 California community colleges—and improving these catalogs could help students better navigate their way through college.



This amphibian – loved for its legs – threatens its California cousins

Sacramento Bee

American bullfrogs, native to the eastern United States, are hopping around Northern California ponds, gobbling up lizards, snakes, bats and birds – anything that fits in their mouths.

Editorial: The Climate Change Doomsday Just Got Canceled

Investor’s Business Daily

Environmentalism: A new study published in the prestigious journal Nature finds that all those global warming doomsday scenarios aren’t credible. Not that you would ever know based on how little coverage this study is getting. The study, published on Thursday, finds that if CO2 in the atmosphere doubled, global temperatures would climb at most by 3.4 degrees Celsius. That’s far below what the UN has been saying for decades, namely that temperatures would rise as much as 4.5 degrees, and possibly up to 6 degrees.


Natural gas is energy’s new king — but how long will it reign? California may offer some clues

LA Times

King Coal has been kicked off the throne. Natural gas is now the nation’s leading source of electricity. It is abundant and cheap, which has not only crippled the coal industry but has also affected virtually every other source of power that makes up the energy grid.

CPUC’s latest order backing batteries spells more trouble for fossil-fuel power plants

Los Angeles Times

California, the state that helped birth the global boom in battery-toting electric vehicles, is trying to spark a similar transformation for utilities. And that spells trouble for power plants all across the U.S. that run on natural gas. The California Public Utilities Commission approved an order Thursday that will require PG&E Corp., the state’s biggest utility, to change the way it supplies power when demand peaks. Instead of relying on electricity from three gas-fired plants run by Calpine Corp., PG&E will have to use batteries or other non-fossil-fuel resources to keep the lights on in the most-populated U.S. state.

U.S. could become world’s biggest oil producer in 2018

CNN Money

The United States could soon be pumping more oil than any country on earth. The International Energy Agency said Friday that “explosive” increases in U.S. oil output would push the country ahead of Saudi Arabia this year and put it in a position to challenge top producer Russia. “This year promises to be a record-setting one for the U.S.,” the IEA said. “Relentless growth should see the U.S. hit historic highs.”


Disease experts split on benefits of valley fever bills

Hanford Sentinel

Advocates for valley fever research give California Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) an “A” for effort for what they call the most robust legislative effort to address the disease in California history. But public health officials and disease experts are split on whether the remedies proposed by Salas will bring improvements.


E-Verify doesn’t prevent many companies from hiring undocumented workers

San Jose Mercury News

When federal agents raided dozens of 7-Eleven stores across the country earlier this month and arrested 21 workers suspected of being undocumented immigrants, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Tom Homan declared that the highly publicized raids were meant to send a message to employers: “If you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”

High anxiety for immigrants as Trump, California do battle over sweeps, sanctuary

Los Angeles Times

Standing near a 7-Eleven in Boyle Heights on Thursday morning, Roberto Pedraza hawked tamales and cups of champurrado, the Mexican hot drink, out of insulated jugs stationed on top of plastic crates.

DACA Relief Can’t Wait Until March 5

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

There’s a widespread misunderstanding about when President Trump’s withdrawal of DACA status for young immigrants will put them at risk of deportation. Even some key policymakers assume that nothing bad will happen until March 5, and, thus, there’s no pressing need for policymakers to act before then. But that’s not the case, and policymakers should act expeditiously to protect these young immigrants.

Sparring between California and feds reaches new level over immigration enforcement

The Press Democrat

North Coast lawmakers are pressing the Trump administration to outline its plans for any immigration-related crackdown in California after news reports last week about a large federal sweep being planned for the state.

Goodlatte Immigration Bill Compromise

National Review

Rather than focus obsessively on the frivolous Gang of Six bill in the Senate, news coverage needs to pay more attention to the “Secure America’s Future Act” by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, the only DACA proposal out there worth the attention of conservatives. As part of negotiations yesterday to get the stopgap funding bill passed, the Freedom Caucus got a commitment from Speaker Paul Ryan to bring it up for a vote.

74% favor legal status for those brought to US illegally as children | Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center

The American public has clear-cut opinions on both issues at the center of the current debate on immigration policy. A large majority (74%) favors granting permanent legal status to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children, but 60% oppose a proposal to “substantially expand the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico” – a longtime goal of President Donald Trump.



Why Modesto’s housing market is on the uptick. Just where are they building?

Modesto Bee

It’s not just your imagination. They really are building new homes again. But it’s not like before, meaning a decade and more ago, when model homes were a common sight throughout Stanislaus County. These days, new-home construction sites are struggling to make a comeback.

How would splitting Prop. 13’s tax rolls affect California’s commercial real estate?


Split roll. Not a term with which you are familiar? Here’s a brief primer. Split roll refers to a different treatment of property taxes for residential vs. commercial real estate.

Housing and the California dream are at a crossroads


For generations, California has offered its people an opportunity to own a home, start a business, and move up, whether someone came from Brooklyn, east Texas, Morelos or Taipei. That deal is still desired by most, but in a state that increasingly sees such activities as socially regressive and environmentally disastrous.

See also:



Next step for River West: Where does the money for upkeep come from?

Fresno Bee

Let’s begin by restating the good news: We as a community are finally past the point of arguing over how to access the River West Open Space Area. Which means now’s time to address the elephant in the room, one that largely faded into the background during the years of rancor over Fresno’s most tantalizing and unrealized public land.

California state payroll increased by $1 billion in 2017, twice as fast as previous year

Sacramento Bee

California’s state payroll – excluding its universities – grew by more than $1 billion last year, twice the rate of growth as the previous year, according to new figures from the State Controller’s Office.

Walters: Should Legislature’s employees be unionized?


Four-plus decades ago, the Legislature and Jerry Brown, then in the first stages of his two-part governorship, decreed that public employees had the right to join unions and bargain for salaries and other working conditions.

Skelton: Democrats running for California governor need to stop talking about Trump and start talking about public pensions

LA Times

One thorny topic you won’t be hearing Democratic candidates for governor talking much about is California’s essential need for public pension reform.

CalPERS seeks legislation to avoid pension cuts


CalPERS wants unions and local government groups to come up with legislation that would retroactively correct a mistake that could lead to more pension cuts, like the 63 percent reduction last July in pensions promised about 200 former employees of LA Works.


Massive cost overruns threaten to derail the bullet train. Here’s what has to change

Los Angeles Times

Only two years ago, the California rail authority unveiled an ambitious plan to begin operating a segment of bullet train service between San Jose and the Central Valley by 2025. It would take nearly every penny in its checkbook, but the rail authority assured the public it would work.

High-Speed Rail Authority Expands Executive Team to Move Project Forward

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Days after the selection of new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brian P. Kelly, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) today announced that Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has appointed Joseph Hedges to the position of Chief Operating Officer and Pamela Mizukami as Chief Deputy Director, expanding the Authority’s executive team to continue the project’s rapid transition from the planning phases to construction and delivery.

See also:

The future of mobility: Why your new car is like an electronic typewriter


My prediction is that anybody buying a new conventional car in 2018, with intentions of keeping it for the next 15 years, will have done so for the very last time.


Oroville Dam spillway built on crumbling rock, warned contractor that built it

Sacramento Bee

An investigation into last winter’s near catastrophe at Oroville Dam uncovered a litany of problems with how the dam was built and maintained, but one of them stands out: Even as workers built the dam, they were raising alarms about the eroded, crumbling rock on which they were directed to lay concrete for the 3,000-foot-long main flood control spillway.

New state water chief is married to SoCal water strategist. Critics say that’s too close

Sacramento Bee

Critics who say state water policy tilts too far toward Southern California got additional ammunition last week, when Gov. Jerry Brown named a new director to run his Department of Water Resources.


Valley Public Radio Mourns Death Of Longtime General Manager Mariam Stepanian

Valley Public Radio

Mariam Stepanian, president and general manager of Valley Public Radio died Thursday Jan. 18 in Fresno, following complications from an illness. She was surrounded by her family and closest friends. White Ash Broadcasting Board Chair David Parker issued the following statement on her passing:

Anna Smith: We should nurture the burgeoning creative class in Bakersfield

Bakersfield Californian

Creatives approach life differently. They’re participants, not just spectators. Innovative and drawing on the creative process to solve problems, they’re not wired to look at a place through the lens of status quo. And our city should attract and embrace more of them.

Kern County Cancer Fund holds Campout Against Cancer kickoff celebration

Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Cancer Fund the start of team preparation for the Campout Against Cancer with a kickoff event on Saturday. The celebration, hosted by the Bakersfield Association of Realtors on Bahamas Drive, welcomed new and former team members, provided information about the event to potential participants, as well as an opportunity to sign up.

Prayer Breakfast focuses on helping local leaders

Bakersfield Californian

Up to 1,000 people are expected to pray for local leaders next week. The annual Bakersfield Prayer Breakfast will be held at the Rabobank Convention Center on Jan. 25. People will be leading prayers for leaders in government, public safety, health and human services, private enterprise, charities, religious leaders as well as youth and education.

Stockton Art Scene: Community carrying hurt but doing great things, making a difference


The Vigil for Victims lost Gun violence on Wednesday, the anniversary of the Cleveland Elementary School shooting opened with traditional Cambodian music played by musicians.



Better home-school oversight could have detected Perris child torture horror

Fresno Bee

The abuse at the suburban home in Riverside County was shocking by any standard: Thirteen siblings, emaciated, chained to the furniture, living in filth.

Roses to Selma gravesite volunteer, thorns to adults selling booze to kids

Fresno Bee

The Fresno Bee’s weekly Thumbs Up/Down column includes a thumbs up to Darin Roam for his tender care of gravesites in Selma, CA.


Assembly Democrats offer a dumb tax bill. Republicans love it

Sacramento Bee

Playing to bad tax-and-spend stereotypes of California Democrats, Assemblymen Kevin McCarty and Phil Ting have offered a counter-productive, ill-considered and ultimately futile proposal to raise corporate taxes.

Think you’re healthy? You’re risking death by not doing this

Sacramento Bee

Every year, public health officials urge Americans to get a flu shot. And every year, millions of Americans come up with excuses not to do it.

The Trump administration can’t arrest its way out of our immigration problem

Los Angeles Times

State and local governments in California rightly recognize that it’s up to the federal government to determine which people living in the country illegally ought to be tracked down and deported. It’s no more the responsibility of the Los Angeles Police Department to run immigrants to ground than it is for them to sniff out people cheating on their federal income taxes.

A year in, Trump distracts while his appointees sledgehammer the government

Los Angeles Times

With nearly every utterance, Donald Trump affirms the conclusion we reached two years ago that he is temperamentally and intellectually unfit to serve as president of the United States. But there he is, a year after his inauguration, waging a war of words with the world from behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office. He has denigrated fellow citizens and international allies; threatened nuclear war; undermined public faith in the judiciary, Congress, and the media; found some “very fine people” at a gathering of neo-Nazis; and dispensed utterly with the idea of presidential gravitas.

Shutdown shows what’s wrong with D.C.

San Francisco Chronicle

The senseless standoff that led to the government shutdown epitomizes the worst of Washington: an ethos that being able to blame the other side for failure is as good, if not better, than getting something done in a bipartisan way. Throw in a lack of leadership and a lack of trust among people who were elected to run the country, and the result is a lost weekend of politicians scrambling to save face.

Black helicopters, the National Guard and ‘Ride of the Valkyries’: When Reagan’s war on pot came to California

Washington Post

Now that marijuana is finally legal for recreational use in the state of California, here at The Watch we’ve been looking at the drug’s history in the state — how it has been used, regulated and prohibited. In the first post, we looked at the origins of marijuana and cannabis prohibition, going back to the early 20th century. For this post, we’ll pick it back up in the late 1960s, as Richard Nixon begins his crusade against illicit substances and, in his 1968 campaign, ushers in the modern drug war.

California bullet train: Time for truth from Democrats running for governor

A consultant’s new estimate that the cost of building the 119-mile initial segment of the state’s bullet-train project had ballooned to $10.6 billion — up 77 percent from initial estimates and up 36 percent from last year’s forecast — demands a new level of candor from California’s elected leaders and from those who aspire to succeed termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown.

The magical thinking that is rent control

Orange County Register

With millions of Californians struggling under the burden of rising housing costs, it is no wonder that many are calling for rent control as one means of easing the burden on renters. According to figures cited by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, more than half all renter households in the state pay more than 30 percent of their household incomes on housing. Nearly a third pay more than half of their incomes on housing.

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The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.


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